Indonesian singer Andien encourages fans to tape mouth shut while sleeping, doctors say it’s potentially dangerous

Indonesian jazz singer Andien has recently gone viral for popularizing a new sleeping technique, which involves sleeping with one’s mouth shut with surgical tape. Photo: Instagram/@andienaisyah
Indonesian jazz singer Andien has recently gone viral for popularizing a new sleeping technique, which involves sleeping with one’s mouth shut with surgical tape. Photo: Instagram/@andienaisyah

Indonesian jazz singer Andien may well be on her way to become Indonesia’s answer to Gwyneth Paltrow due to her numerous endorsements of alternative and new age health treatments, but the latest pseudo-scientific holistic living method she’s been flogging may actually be dangerous.

Recently, the 33-year-old singer has gone viral for popularizing a new sleeping technique, which involves sleeping with one’s mouth shut with surgical tape, on her Instagram account.

According to Andien’s post, she and her family have adopted the technique, including her 2-year-old son Kawa.

“We’ve been sleeping with [our mouths] plastered in the last few months,” Andien wrote in an Instagram Story, saying that she first saw her holistic teacher’s son sleeping with the tape on his mouth when he had a sleepover at her house.

Andien said she learned more about the breathing technique in a workshop by her holistic teacher, trauma healing trainer and author Gobind Vashdev. The technique is called the Buteyko Breathing Technique, named after an Ukrainian doctor named Konstantin Pavlovich Buteyko, that promotes exercises in which participants practice breathing through their noses at all times, as well as sleeping with their mouths taped.

“Mas Gobind said there are 200 chronic illnesses caused by breathing the wrong way… It’s funny when we think of it, we learn a lot about things that we end up not doing. But we don’t learn about the thing that we do all the time: breathing,” Andien wrote.

Andien says she has felt many benefits from sleeping with her mouth taped, including having better sleep, waking up more refreshed and being free from bad breath.

Many online appear to be convinced by Andien’s endorsement.

Local media outlets also picked up on Andien’s viral posts and promoted the health benefits of the method in their articles, although most of them did not quote any health professionals

But as soon as the trend picked up, several doctors warned netizens not to copy Andien.

“Want to have a good sleep but you’re taping your mouth? Perhaps your problem is that because you’re snoring you get sleep apnea so when you wake up, instead of feeling refreshed, you feel sleepy. If you’re sleeping with your mouth taped and then all of a sudden your nose is blocked in the middle of the night, then what are you breathing with? A gill? Are you Ariel?” Ophthalmologist Ferdiriva Hamzah wrote in the tweet above.

Yesterday, Dr Dewi Puspito Sari, a resident at Jakarta’s Cipto Mangunkusumo Hospital, posted a series of stories on Instagram in which she tried to debunk the Andien-approved sleeping technique.

In the post, Dewi said one reason people breathe through their mouths while sleeping is a blocked nasal cavity. The blocking can disturb one’s sleep, which could then cause Sleep Disorder Breathing (SDB) and Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) if not treated correctly. 

“The blockage may be caused by several factors, one of which could be tumors. If there’s any obstruction in the nasal area, it needs to be checked by a doctor first and foremost to see what’s the cause of the blockage,” Dewi told Coconuts today via direct message on Instagram.

Dewi added that breathing through the mouth is an automatic response by people with SDB and OSA, so sufferers are definitely warned against taping their mouths shut while sleeping because it could lead to an even worse blockage that could stop their breathing.

“If there are any symptoms such as mouth breathing or snoring during sleep, you should consult your ENT doctor… Don’t attempt to tape your mouth during sleep before knowing your actual condition,” Dewi wrote in her Instagram Story.

It’s safe to say that more people need to stop taking everything they see online, particularly things related to medicine, at face value and ask health professionals instead.

Previously, Andien also attracted controversy for her decision to let her baby’s placenta come off naturally and even documenting the still-attached placenta by posting the photo on Instagram. Doctors have also criticized her for adopting the baby-led weaning (BLW) feeding method for her son, then 5 months old, which involves the infant feeding himself solid foods unassisted.

Read more music & showbiz stories from Coconuts Jakarta here.

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